The act of personal hygiene should be strongly emphasized and encouraged among children starting from their early years to make it become part and parcel of them for a happy and healthy life.
However, the onus of teaching sound personal hygiene to children lies on both parents and teachers. A combined effort of both parents and teachers to inculcate the habit of good personal hygiene in children will leave them with a lifetime impression.
Personal hygiene basically means the cleanliness of one’s body and surroundings. It involves the cleanliness of one’s clothing, proper living habits, a healthy diet, rest, and exercise, and keeping all parts of the physical body clean and healthy.
Important personal hygiene every child must learn;
1. Body hygiene: Teach them how to take care of every part of their body. They should be able to wash their hair, hands and their feet properly to minimize contact with germs. Educate them to take their bath properly with soap at least twice each day.
Also, ensure that your child’s fingernails are trimmed every week on a regular basis. Teach your child to wash her hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after eating food, after using the toilet, coughing or sneezing, playing on the school grounds, etc.
2. Toilet hygiene: Viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms grow easily on your toilet surface. Children should be taught how to use the toilet properly. Flushing before and after use, washing hands with soap and water after going to the toilet.
3. Coughing and sneezing hygiene: Children should be taught about the importance of covering their noses and using handkerchiefs or tissue paper when sneezing or coughing to prevent the circulation of germs.
4. Food Hygiene: It is important to maintain hygiene when eating, serving, or preparing food to prevent bacteria from spreading from one person to another. Fruits and food items should be properly washed before eating or cooking. Food should be cooked in neat places, served with neat plates and covered properly. Encourage children to take bottles of clean water to school.
5. Regular washing of clothes: Children should learn the habit of washing their school uniforms and clothes. Regular washing of socks and underwear should also be encouraged to avoid body odour.
6. Dental Hygiene: Guide them to brush their teeth properly for at least 2-3 minutes to keep them cavity-free. Brushing teeth twice a day should be made a regular habit.
7. Menstrual Hygiene: Female children are especially confused about the ways they can manage their periods. It is the work of both parents and teachers to guide them properly on how to manage their period and proper disposal of menstrual pads.
8. Hygienic Environment: Children should be able to tidy their rooms and clean their compound. While in school, they should be able to keep classrooms and the school environment clean. This will help them to prevent the spreading of infections at home and in the surroundings.
In addition, practices of good personal hygiene at school and at the home should be embedded in the daily activities of children to help them stay clean, healthy and safe from germs and illnesses.
It is pertinent to note that developing healthy habits is a process that takes time and should be handled patiently. Parents and teachers serve as role models to children and so, they should try their very best to put what they teach children to practice.